Summertime means trip time for School Age Services youths
July 19, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - Exclamations and questions rang out as youths from U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's School Age Services spread across the vast floor at the Technoseum in Mannheim and began to explore.
"Whoa, check this out," said one youth. "What is that over there?" asked another. The questions only continued from there. "Am I supposed to jump on this?" asked a youth. "Can I touch this?"
In almost all cases, the answer to questions about interacting with the exhibits was, "Yes, you can do that." In fact, one of the museum's guiding principles is that visitors learn by touching and interacting with many of the exhibits. While some exhibits only required looking, many require "doing" as well.
Although the museum did not look child-friendly from the entryway's blank white walls, children soon discovered during their July 10 visit that it was certainly child friendly. They had entered a magical world of science and learning.
Some exhibits were simple, such as learning about how a magnet works or testing cat-like prowess by jumping off a platform. Other exhibits, such as one that challenged children to build their own future city and another that asked children to make their own laws about trash and electricity to measure how long a population would last, required much more thinking. The youths enjoyed both kinds of exhibits, however.
The museum also featured many life-sized models of cars, planes and even a steam engine train. The children had wide eyes and expressed disbelief at the sight of original looms and sewing machines, which are about five times the size of those used nowadays.
The employees working at the Technoseum did their best to keep up with the curiosity of the visitors and explained to them many of the models and exhibits. After a very exciting hands-on demonstration of how the engine of a steam train works, visitors boarded an original steam engine train and took a short ride into the museum yard and back.
After the train ride it was time to board the bus for a much less thrilling ride back to the Clay Kaserne SAS. With the children tired out from so much exploration, it was much quieter than the bus ride filled with songs, bad jokes and laughter on the way there.
The trip was one of many SAS has taken during the summer. Children go on field trips to various museums, zoos and parks twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
SAS will be going on other trips such as to the puppet theater on July 24, Lochmuehle in Weherheim July 31, Kurpfalz Aug. 7, and Mainz Waterplay Aug. 14 to name a few. Anyone interested in signing up a child for a trip or volunteering as an aide should contact SAS, located on Clay Kaserne and in Hainerberg Housing.
To find out more about the Technoseum, visit www.technoseum.de. The museum is located at Museumsstrasse 1, 68165 Mannheim, and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The museum features a family pass that costs ,12 for one visit or a year-long pass for ,60. It takes about an hour to drive to the museum from Wiesbaden. (Katrina Gluth, a senior in college, is a Summer Hire employee for the garrison's Public Affairs Office)